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Two keys to sprayer efficiency

By Dr. Jason S.T. Deveau

D

id you know that your sprayer can lie to you? Even when you think you’ve done everything right, faulty pressure gauges and nozzles can result in run-off, drift and the need for more frequent applications to compensate for reduced protection.

Nothing beats a solid routine of cleaning, calibrating and adjusting your sprayer to achieve the best results, but in a pinch, there are two things you can do to make a big difference.

REPLACE PRESSURE GAUGE(S)

Replacing old or suspect pressure gauges considerably improves spray quality. In a recent Ohio survey of airblast sprayers, some were out by more than ~140 kilopascals (20 pounds per square inch). When you consider that airblast sprayers can operate anywhere from 40 to maybe 120 psi, that means some of those sprayers were out by as much as 50percent. Here’s how you can prevent this from happening to you:  Check your pressure gauge by connecting a new oil-filled gauge in parallel to compare readings. If they are appreciably different, swap to the new gauge and discard the old one.  Now check the lines and boom pressure by temporarily installing reliable pressure gauges behind the last nozzle on each end of the boom. This works for airblast as well as boom sprayers. If the readings are appreciably different, release the in- line pressure and check for blockage throughout the lines. Clean and flush the lines, replace any suspect parts and check the pressure again to confirm all pressure gauges correspond.

16 British Columbia Berry Grower • Summer 2010

Gauges are available as either liquid-filled or dry. A liquid-filled gauge is best because it dampens pressure pulsations and vibration resulting in a steadier reading, but it is slower to respond to changes in pressure.

The maximum pressure indicated on the gauge should be approximately twice the intended operating pressure to enable accurate reading of the pressure. A new gauge costs less than $20.

REPLACE THE NOZZLES

Often neglected, monitoring nozzle performance pays off because tip damage has a direct impact on product effectiveness and cost. This would arise from plugged nozzles limiting the volume being sprayed, or gaps in the spray pattern creating unsprayed areas, or even over- spraying from worn nozzles.? Don’t rely on your tank being empty to tell you if your nozzles are worn — one plugged nozzle cancels out a worn one. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24
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